Virtually every issue I dealt with in my article was an old one on which both critics and officials of the church have made their views known publicly on numerous occasions. To supplement my knowledge of the issues involved, I consulted the church's Web page (http://www.scientology.org), as well as a Web page maintained by media-relations director Leisa Goodman (http://www.theta.com/goodman). I learned that the church's official positions on such matters as copyright and its controversial "fair game" policy matched what Cooley had told me and what I had read in numerous newspaper and magazine articles.
Although Judge Brinkema did indeed rule that she had granted an overly broad seizure order in the Lerma case, that ruling pertained only to Lerma's motion for summary judgment against the church. Brinkema made her feelings plain several months earlier, when she wrote: "When the RTC [Religious Technology Center, the holder of Scientology's copyrights] first approached the court with its ex parte request for the seizure warrant and temporary restraining order, the dispute was presented as a straightforward one under copyright and trade secret law. However, the court is now convinced that the primary motivation of RTC . . . is to stifle criticism of Scientology in general and to harass its critics."
Steven Fishman's personal credibility is problematic, as I made clear in my story. However, numerous church critics and ex-members say that his "declaration," from which we published excerpts, is an accurate description of the copyrighted church documents that he introduced into the public record as part of a lawsuit brought against him by the church.
The accusations Akiyama makes against Steven Hassan are old ones that Hassan has vigorously denied on numerous occasions. Hassan admits to having participated in involuntary counseling sessions in the 1970s, and says he has never repeated that mistake. Certainly Hassan's status as a respected author (Combatting Cult Mind Control, Park Street Press, 1988) and mind-control expert who's been consulted by credible media organizations such as ABC's Nightline and CBS's 60 Minutes speaks for itself.